Today the oldest American planation house open for public viewing, Drayton Hall was built between 1738 and 1742 for wealthy rice producer John Drayton and owned by the Drayton family until 1974. Framed by majestic live oaks, the Georgian-Palladian house and its hand-carved woodwork and plasterwork represent New World craftsmanship at its finest. Because such modern elements as electricity, plumbing, and central heating have never put in an appearance, the house is much as it was in its early years; in fact, it is displayed unfurnished. The Sally Rearhard Visitor Center, completed in 2018, offers an intimate look into daily life at the estate through Drayton Hall's collection of furniture, artwork, manuscripts, and other archaeological artifacts. You can also visit an African-American cemetery, where many of the plantation's enslaved and emancipated people were buried, and take self-guided walks along the river.